As you’ve thought about planning your wedding you’ve probably considered or even had people ask if you’d be hiring a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. Although many people use those terms interchangeably, wedding planners and wedding coordinators are actually quite different. Which do you need? How do you determine which is the right fit for your wedding – a coordinator, a planner or both? Let’s dive into what each offers and then help you decide what’s best for you by answering some simple questions.
You can think of a wedding planner as an all-knowing personal wedding assistant! Their job is to make your vision for your wedding day come to life! They are experts at planning logistics, communicating & organizing details, connecting you to the best vendors, negotiating the best deals with those vendors and attending all of your wedding meetings with you to ensure everything is as perfect as possible. Wedding planners offer full service packages where they help with every single detail of planning and they also offer smaller packages for brides who want to do a lot of planning but still need help getting connected to the right vendors, tracking their budgets or finding their dream dress and venue.
The benefits of using a wedding planner are that they’re adaptable to your needs and can offer you whatever planning services you’re looking for. You meet with them at the beginning of your engagement and they are with you from the start. They truly are able to know exactly what you want for your big day and will make it happen, taking loads of stress off of you. They do all the research to find the best vendors, bridal salons, dress, etc. and lay out the options for you. They also help alleviate family stress and tension. Everyone will have opinions on how you should make decisions for your day, but you can push the stress and responsibility of those opinions onto your planner instead of having to carry that weight.
You can think of a wedding coordinator as your wedding day point-to person. They handle and take care of every logistic, schedule and set-up detail on the day of your wedding. Their goal is to help your wedding day run as smoothly as possible without you having to be concerned about any of the details. Everything from connecting & communicating with your vendors as they arrive, addressing any family/guest questions and concerns, helping guests sit at the right table to keeping with your timeline. They make sure the reception tables are set correctly, the ceremony starts on time, anyone involved in photos knows where to be and when. They will know every detail of your day and make all of your planning/vision a reality.
You typically meet with your wedding coordinator 4-8 weeks before the wedding to go over all of the details of your day. You’ll give them your timeline, location details, guest list/seating chart, share who your vendors are and talk through any stress points you have for the day so they can make sure to alleviate those. The biggest benefits of using a wedding coordinator are that they alleviate for you all of the stress and execution of the wedding day. They handle it all, you can truly enjoy the detail without having to worry about it going smoothly and correctly. You won’t have people going to you all day asking questions instead, you can relax while your coordinator is the go-to person. They are also easier on the budget because they cost less than a planner, yet still offer a great service.
Which is Right for You?
Before deciding, it’s worth it to note two things. First, some wedding venues will offer a day-of wedding coordinator as part of their booking packages. Second, some wedding planners will also coordinate your wedding day for an extra price. Determining which service is better for you all depends on your circumstances. Read through the questions below to help decide:
- Budget – If you have a tight budget and not much to spend, then a wedding coordinator will be a better fit for you because they cost less. You can save money, by doing a lot of the research, planning and booking yourself and then hire a day-of-coordinator to handle the details on the wedding day. On the other hand, if you have a larger budget but aren’t good at keeping to your budget, then paying for a wedding planner would be wise. The expense of a wedding planner may save you money in the long run because part of their job will be to track your budget, negotiate vendor pricing and get you your dream wedding without letting you overspend.
- Time – If you are short on time and know that you don’t have more than a few hours each week to wedding plan, then you’ll need a wedding planner. They will devote several hours every week to make sure you find your dream venue, dress, cake and will coordinate and communicate all of your wedding details to your family and friends. You also may want a wedding planner if you have a very quick turn around time for planning. If your engagement is short and you’re struggling to book everything, a wedding planner has the resources and connections to do that for you quickly.
- Vision & Control – If you have dreamed about planning your wedding since you were a little girl and you want to have the control of researching, calling and booking everything, then you don’t need a wedding planner. Maybe you already know your dream venue, dress and cake flavor. If you already have the vision for your day, the resources you need and just need some help bringing it together and executing it on the day-of then a wedding coordinator is the perfect fit. Or maybe you don’t have any vision and making decisions completely stresses you, then a wedding planner is the better option. They can help guide you and take the decision making aspect off your plate.
- Family & Friends – Do you have a bunch of family and friends who will give their opinions about how everything should be done and you can’t handle that? Hire a wedding planner to take on the planning and to take on the family stress – they’re educated to do that! Maybe you have a close friend or family member who is detail-oriented, great at logistics and coordinating events. You could hire a wedding planner to help you plan & create your vision for your wedding and then have that friend or family member be a personal attendant for you on the wedding day to take care of directing people, answering questions and making sure you keep to your timeline.
Hopefully we’ve helped you understand what each job & service can offer you! Wedding planning is such a big task and knowing whether a coordinator or planner is a good fit for you can make a big difference.
If you’re in the Dallas area and looking for some recommendations, here are some wedding planners/coordinators I have worked with and are amazing: